High school closed Wednesday for service for teacher Joy Flanders


Joyanne “Joy” Flanders of Chilmark died Sunday following a long illness. Ms. Flanders, 54, was a longtime special education teacher at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.

A graveside service was held at 10 am Wednesday, at Abel’s Hill cemetery off South Road in Chilmark. A potluck reception followed at the Chilmark Community Center.

On Tuesday, James Weiss, superintendent of Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools, announced that Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School would be closed so that teachers and students could attend funeral services for Ms. Flanders, a public school teacher since 1984.

Elementary schools were open, and there was no change otherwise in scheduled activities.

Mr. Weiss sent this emailed notice to students and parents: “It is with great sadness that we have to announce to you today that one of our highly regarded teachers, Joy Flanders, has passed away after an extended illness. In order for the faculty to participate in her service, we will have to close school Wednesday, February 23. All classes are canceled for the school day. After-school activities will still take place. As per state law, this day will need to be made up at the end of the school year.”

In a telephone conversation with The Times Wednesday morning, Mr. Weiss explained that a majority of the high school staff of 60 expressed an interest in attending the service, and it was not possible to arrange substitute staff in order to have a business-as-usual school day.

“She taught with us for 27 years,” he said.